Where are the big hits?

By Kambes Kesolei

The year 2011 marked the 4th year in a row without a major local music album released to wider appeal.

It used to be that we have several albums released per year, with hit songs, basically parked at the tip of our lips ready to be belted out. Our cultural music landscape is practically dry. And we are long overdue for a big hit.  So what’s taking so long?

Last albums to achieve huge popularity on the island could be traced back to their released date in late 2007. Sheldon’s “Fuantastic” album carrying its super hit namesake and Brel’s “Soak” with one of the hit songs “Delete Er Kau”, which could be considered a watershed moment where the impression of computer is built into the song, formally putting our culture into the computer age. It is a song that is now more prescient with today’s ubiquitous use of social networking sites.

Recent releases of local songs by Palauan music stars have been few and far between. Lisa’s October album “Sembuki R’ Kau” and Soul’s “Tsunami”, before that – two big names in Palauan music lore – haven’t made as much impact in the cultural side of things as they are capable of.

Three things comes to mind as to why.

First, purchasing a new ten-track album is becoming a rarity. Producing new music is a risky investment with the abundant use of digital technology making copying original works as easy, cheap, and without much drop in sound quality.

Second, a new music sub culture has slowly come into view. Teens are much more advance and technically more proficient with wider repertoire of music skills in comparison to their counterpart just several years ago.

They write, sing, and record their own songs. Their songs are distributed by bluetooth or usb flash drives. Some of their popular songs have earned their way into fm radio playing time. They create their own music, have their own fan base, and now compete with established local starts for teen influence.

As my two 11-grade nieces observed, there have been no songs from the sub genre making a crossover to the adult music scene. However, the opposite is true. This doesn’t mean that crossover appeal from the teen music are non-existent, but it might be due to their ability to create a marketable product that can be sold at popular retail outlets.

Third, making ends meet by singing and playing music alone can’t be supported in this kind of economy. There are more music artists then there are jobs available out there that needs their skills.  Singers get paid singing in nightclubs but also maintain full-time work during the day, either as a  salaried worker, or supplementing their income by singing in parties, cultural events, and other activities.

Creative talents, thus, has been held in check as making ends meet takes precedence over everything.

The 2007 release of Fuantastic and Soak received more play time in 2008 election season. Since its release, the hit-track Fuantastic has been adopted into variety of contemporary dances and gazillion cha cha steps. Besides, Delete-Er-Kau, Brel’s balladeer voice made Dilukai a hit.

I was hoping this holiday season to see a big release by a local superstar, considering that 2012 will be a big election year and campaigns will be booking the top performers with big hits.

The wait for the big hit is still on.

Singles releases are the norm played with remix of yesteryear songs. So I guess next year’s big songs will be this year’s biggies – Lisa’s Sembuki R’ Kau and Sheldons’s Moilil, Moilil, Momengur, Momengur, Bobad, Bobad.

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One Comment to “Where are the big hits?”

  1. Kambes,

    kamomes er tiang el kmong sebechel cheliteklel tial merael mei lomelilt ra re mo beches lomtechei er kid.

    “blirir a re ngellitel”

    temel omeluches me ke de melai ra rengellitel, e lak dorrenges ra remerael ma remesikd, le tia kmal di ngar kau, kau me ngak me ngii me kid el bek’l chad. me bo delecha chesenged er sel moungil ra rubdois el chad er tial beluuu.

    chorus: kingelled ra blid, kingelled ra buai, me tia kelem, me tilcha imelem, dongang dongang, dolim dolim, ngolchesem, ngolchesel, ngolchesed, me bomlechesii, boklechesii, bodlechesii, me bo dungil betok lechad, loba kisel tial blirir a re ngellitel.

    tiaikid sel sils ra blirir a re ngellitel, me ke de mo chad me olechesel, tar chelesl a bekl leual rak. dorchedid el mong, le te mengiil rekid, lorreked chimad, alii alii, te mol kursid el morsel blil omengang me omelim, mesel moungil re tir.

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